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Jul
17
comment Are octaves, fifths, fourths and thirds considered as “consonant” in all music cultures?
The harmonic series is really a physical property of particular kinds of sound-making objects, such as idealised strings with no lateral stiffness. Stiffer strings, as on a piano, have some 'disharmonicity', or a slightly different relationship between the fundamental and overtones. Metal percussion instruments and bells differ even more from the harmonic series' integer ratios. This page argues that the disharmonicity of gamelan instruments influences the set of intervals in the /pelog/ scale, which includes octaves, but not fifths.
Jul
17
comment Are octaves, fifths, fourths and thirds considered as “consonant” in all music cultures?
@leftaroundabout: perfect fourths are dissonant on their own when they appear in two-voice counterpoint, and they require special treatment as dissonances when they appear between the bass and upper part in counterpoint for more voices.
Jul
17
comment Are octaves, fifths, fourths and thirds considered as “consonant” in all music cultures?
This is an excellent post. Although I agree that historical factors trump purely acoustical ones, I think @leftaroundabout's post below is correct in pointing out that in medieval Pythagorean tuning the "thirds" are considerably wider than just- or equal-tempered thirds, and so have more beats or acoustical "dissonance". So the idea of a dissonant third is not as strange as it might seem. Kyle Gann has a good page about this and other historical tunings here.
Jun
13
comment When were the terms “Major” and “Minor” applied to keys?
I am curious now at what date English theory adopted the modern terms 'major' and 'minor', and from what foreign language -- French? If I find out anything more I will post it here.
Jun
13
answered When were the terms “Major” and “Minor” applied to keys?
Jun
5
comment Parallel Fifths in Pachelbel's Canon in D?
Some historical texts about counterpoint state that small errors are more permissible in a strict canon, since the canonic relationship puts so many additional restrictions on the movement of the parts. As well as being in an inner voice and separated by rests, the fifths are also partially covered up by all the rhythmic activity in the other parts.
May
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awarded  Editor
May
15
revised Was the viola da gamba or violin particularly associated with England in the late 16th or early 17th century?
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May
15
answered Was the viola da gamba or violin particularly associated with England in the late 16th or early 17th century?
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answered Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier Order
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answered Why are the white and black keys on the piano placed the way they are?